Minnesota Legislative Round-up: Minnesota DFLers introducing agenda
ST. PAUL - Minnesota state Senate DFLers introduced the bills today they're backing in 2013.
Raising the minimum wage is among the issues lawmakers are addressing in the current session. Senator Chris Eaton of Brooklyn Center says whether it's a teenager in a part-time job or a low-income worker struggling to stretch each paycheck, putting more money in the pockets of minimum wage earners is good for the whole economy. Her bill would raise the minimum wage to seven dollars and 50-cents for most workers starting in August.
State Senator Tony Lourey from Kerrick and State Representative Joe Atkins of Inver Grove Heights have unveiled a bill that would set up a health insurance exchange in Minnesota as part of the president's Affordable Care Act. Lourey says the exchange will be an on-line marketplace where Minnesotans can compare and purchase health insurance coverage. But Senate Republican Minority Leader David Hann of Eden Prairie warns 30 states are not signing up for the exchanges because they don't think nationalization of health care is good for consumers or the economy.
As Minnesota Senate DFLers rolled out their first bills for the 2013 session this morning, the debate continues over tax increases. Senate Republican Minority Leader David Hann says two years ago when the state had a six-billion-dollar deficit, Democrats said the only way to get through the crisis was a massive tax increase -- something Republicans did not allow. But Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk of Cook responds Democrats will not pass a budget that relies on continued borrowing or accounting gimmicks. Bakk says DFLers will have "an honest conversation with Minnesotans about the challenges that we face as a state." Minnesota has a forecasted one-billion-dollar budget deficit.